Hosea 11:4 NKJV – The Tenderness of God

I drew them with gentle cords, with bands of love, and I was to them as those who take the yoke from their neck. I stooped and fed them.

What imagery in this Scripture. God caring for His creation. I have found this to be true at all times. I may not have recognized it initially or I might have even rejected it, but God loves and cares for us. God’s love is His deepest expression to us because it’s God’s nature to love. He defines love. He is love.

God’s love for us is eternal. “The Lord has appeared of old to me, saying: “Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you.” (Jeremiah 31:3 NKJV) God’s love is a covenant love. Covenant is defined as a serious and formal agreement. God made a covenant promise to Abraham. “And I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you in their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and your descendants after you. Also I give to you and your descendants after you the land in which you are a stranger, all the land of Canaan, as an everlasting possession; and I will be their God. (Genesis 17:7-9 NKJV) This covenant love remains for us.

We can rely and absolutely trust God for His love. He bands us together with Him. He removes our yokes and He is faithful to feed us. God’s gift of supreme love is His Son, Jesus. “In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” (1 John 4:9-10 NKJV)

Jesus has a love especially for the lowly and needy; the lonely and bereaved. His words demonstrate God’s mercy and grace.  Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Matthew 11:28-29 NKJV) “When the Lord saw her, He had compassion on her and said to her, “Do not weep.”” (Luke 7:13 NKJV)

Friend, if you desire a tender, loving touch from God, it’s as close as a prayer. Prayer brings the supernatural into the natural. Prayer brings God into your situation, your need, your sorrow, your healing. Prayer brings you into God’s tender care; with gentle cords, with bands of love.

Dear Lord, thank You that You care for us. Thank You that You love us with an everlasting love. We delight that we are in an everlasting covenant with you and rejoice that You are our God. Teach us Your ways so that we remain in the steps You order. Forgive us Lord when we turn from You and go back to our ways. We repent Lord and seek You to bring us back to You. We love You Jesus and pray in Your name. AMEN

Don’t believe me, believe God!

Romans 12:10-15 NKJV – The importance of love

Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer; distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.”

In these verses, there is a common theme…the importance of love. We are to love one another in brotherly love as of the “Household of God”. The believer should be fervent in living for Jesus Christ. We should have enthusiasm and high energy. We should rejoice with each other, have patience when we face difficult times, and remain diligent in prayer. And we should care for each other as the need arises.

When we are insulted and pushed around, made to feel like we don’t matter, we should bless those who do that to us. We should be praying for God’s favor for them and that their hearts would be softened to receive the power of the Holy Spirit to guide them to turn towards Jesus. Jesus said, “But I say to you who hear; Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you.” (Luke 6:27 NKJV) Our unity as Christians is best displayed in the empathy we show each other in moments of extreme joy or deep, deep sorrow. In short, we must behave like a Christian.

Where do we start? We start with a genuine relationship with Jesus Christ. Jesus is love. So much so that He gave His life for us so that we could be with Him where He is. “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.” (John 14:3 NKJV) A genuine relationship begins with prayer. Setting aside time each day to spend with Jesus. To let Him know how we’re feeling, what we are facing, to thank Him, to praise Him, to tell Him how much we love Him. Prayer is so important to help us grow in the knowledge of the love Jesus has for us because it’s in those times of prayer that Jesus speaks to us. The more we get to know about Jesus in prayer and the study of His Word, the more He returns that love to us in abundance.

I can tell you that when I felt there was no one or nothing else that could love me, Jesus came boldly and aggressively into my life. He pursued me and captured my heart and my love. “And he arose and come to his father. But when he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him.” (Luke 15:20 NKJV) And Jesus will do that for you as well, if you would let Him.

Dear Jesus, help us to love as You love us. Lord, thank You for teaching us in Your Word what it means to be Christlike. Lord, we desire to have a genuine relationship with You. We desire to spend time with you. Help us to grow in our knowledge and love for You. Thank You for pursuing us and capturing our hearts. We love You and praise You. In Jesus Name. AMEN.

Don’t believe me, believe God!

Luke 6:27-28 NKJV – The Source

But I say to you who hear: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you.

Again, this very verse has challenged me. AND again, the challenge occurred at the workplace. Now I have to say that I am very thankful for the employment I have and the people I work with every day. But there are days, when the stresses of the work begin to wear on everyone. And that’s when things are said that people don’t mean to say. Now, it’s just not at the workplace that this occurs. It can happen anywhere. It’s not like we live in a peaceable world. There is chaos, and strife, and tension just about everywhere. When you experience it, well, it’s not good.

Now I wouldn’t call any of these people my enemies and frankly, when I get drawn into the situation myself, and I fall, I pray I’m not looked upon as an enemy. But this scripture is very clear as to what I am to do when I’m treated wrongly. There have been times that I have been used spitefully and even cursed at. It’s then I have to stop and bridle my tongue and not respond in defense. Defense is a natural survival mechanism, but when not controlled it can get you in a lot of trouble.

Scripture teaches us that it is wrong to strike back or to return evil for evil, whether by immediate retaliation or by taking revenge later. Forgiveness is always the best approach. God’s forgiveness of our sins leads us to pray for His forgiveness of others and to be forgiving in our dealings with other people. Is this easy? Well, sometimes it’s not especially if we don’t understand where our “Source” of forgiveness is.

The “Source” of forgiveness, the “Source” of our peace, the “Source” of our compassion for others comes from the Blood of Jesus. It’s only through the Blood of Jesus that we can endure this world, that we can forgive as we have been forgiven, that we can love our enemies.

These last couple of days has been a challenge to me and I am so thankful that God is still working in me to live a life pleasing to Him in all I say and do. I’m being transparent today because I want you to know that if you are struggling with loving your enemies or those who do you wrong, you are not alone.   I struggle as well. But we have Jesus. The lover of our souls. Who loves us with an everlasting love and through His Blood, we can pour out that kind of love on others. Even on those who hurt us.

Will I have more days like today? I’m sure that I will. But I pray that I remember what God has spoken to me about over these last few days. We must always remember our “Source”. Thank You Jesus!

Precious Lord, thank You for Your precious blood. It’s the source of life and everything we are. Your precious blood allows us to live and breathe in this world. Let us always remember to cling to You and Your sacrifice on the cross to enable us to demonstrate to the world that You are alive. Help us Lord to draw our strength from You. May we always love our enemies and forgive all who persecute us. Thank You Jesus. In Your Name. AMEN.

Don’t believe me, believe God!

Luke 12:6-7 NKJV – You are valuable to God

“Are not five sparrows sold for two copper coins? And not one of them is forgotten before God. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.”

One of the great joys in my life is caring for and watching birds. I enjoy feeding them, watching their movements, cataloging them (59 different species come to our feeders), and just plain loving them. Birds are beautiful. I’ve even prayed for birds that I did not see at our feeders and watch God respond and bring those specific birds to my sight.

But as much as I love the birds that come to our yard, it cannot compare to the love that God has for us. You might think, “Yeah. Duh! Of course God loves us more.” Well, you’re right. But there are some people out there who feel no one loves them that much. They feel they have no value to anyone, even God.

Let me be transparent. I’ve felt that way. Yup. I felt I lost everything and that no one cared. Not even family. I felt no worth. Not even the value of two copper coins. But then I met Jesus. And I found out that there was love available for me. I just needed to accept it. Do you know it is impossible for God to forget about you? Impossible! You are His creation and His desire is to spend eternity with you. He wants to pour out His love on you, to care for you, to give you shelter and peace, to give you hope when you see no hope, to pick you up when others want to put you down. He wants you to know Him as your God because you are His own. And while you thought no one cared, God cared and He continues to love you with an everlasting love.

My birds, they give joy to my life. But my God IS the joy, the reason, and purpose for my life. He is my God and I am His child. Dear friend, may I introduce you to Him? His name is Jesus.

Dear God. There is someone out there that feels no one cares. No one could love them. Lord that is simply not true. Thank You for Your love that is everlasting. Thank You for Your grace and mercy that softens hearts. Thank You for Your Son, Jesus, who bridges the gap between us. Holy Spirit, bring my friend to a place of grace, of mercy, of forgiveness, today. Come into my friend’s life. In Jesus Name. AMEN.

Don’t believe me, believe God!

Proverbs 12:25 NKJV – Breaking the chain of anxiety

Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression, but a good word makes it glad.

Anxiety is a crippling emotion. It grips a person and causes lots of other problems; physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Doctors say it can cause many ailments and diseases in people. Some people feel trapped, alone, and by themselves as a result of anxiety. I’m not a doctor and I don’t want to sound here that I have this emotion all figured out. I don’t. I still deal with this emotion from time to time. Some of you reading this know all about anxiety and what it can do. My prayers are with you.

But what I’m talking about here is what God thinks about anxiety and how He instructs us about this emotion. There is such a thing as a “ministry of encouragement”. The ministry of encouragement is more than a superficial word. It’s a spoken word that is an important aspect of caring for one another. In the book of James it says, “If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘Depart in peace, be warmed and filled’ but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit?” (James 2:15-16 NKJV) We see anxiety all around us. We see it in our family, our friends, our co-workers, our neighbors, and even feel it ourselves. The bible tells us clearly how Jesus dealt with those He saw. It says that, “He came out, saw a great multitude and was moved with compassion for them, because they were like sheep not having a shepherd.” (Mark 6:34 NKJV) The multitude were those who Jesus walked with, talked with, and ministered to. An encouraging word is a compassionate word. It is given to uplift someone above what they are facing. It is directed to move their mind from where they are to another place. A place of peace and a place of love.

The first part of Proverbs 17:22 says, “A merry heart does good, like medicine”. The second part says, “but a broken spirit dries the bones.” I desire more of the first part then the latter. But the latter describes exactly what anxiety does to a person. It dries you up to where there is no life giving flow any more. Overcoming this emotion is very important to God. He desires for us to be free; to have the chains broken of anxiety that rob our joy. Philippians 4:6-7 NKJV, says “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

I feel that I’m talking to someone who will read this and understand what I’m talking about. God has called each of us to be an establisher and a builder of His Kingdom. I believe that means to be an encourager. One who is willing to share a kind word, build up someone who is down, and demonstrate the compassion of Jesus Christ.

Let me share a secret with you. When I am full of anxiety or worry and I set my emotions aside to encourage another person, what I am worried about just seems to wither away. At least for that moment. Encouraging others is a medicine for the heart; both theirs and our own. When we go to God in prayer and make known to Him what causes us worry and receive that peace, and then partner that with bringing encouragement to another person’s life, we are bringing God’s promises to life. What a tremendous formula for freedom.

Great and glorious God, thank You that You care so much for us. That You want the chains of anxiety to be broken for good. That we can call upon You and make our emotions known to You and receive Your peace. Help us to have a revelation moment when the grip of worry and anxiety leave us and may we give You all the honor and praise. Thank You for Your Word Lord and help us live a life of encouragement and compassion for others. May we be more and more like Jesus. In Jesus Name we pray. AMEN.

Don’t believe me, believe God!

Psalm 115:18 NKJV – Adoration Prayer

But we will bless the Lord from this time forth and forevermore. Praise the Lord!

Sometimes we have to step back and meditate on the things the Lord has given us. If you don’t this world will begin to pull us back into a belief that what we have is what we have worked for. Well, I’m here to say I don’t believe that. At one time, I believed that, but I’ve changed. Thank You, Jesus. What I have now is so much less than what the world would think as being necessary, but in reality I have so much more. Am I making any sense here? Just keep reading. I’ll begin to clarify myself.

When I met Jesus and accepted Him as my Savior and the purpose of my life, I had to give up the world. I had to leave the world behind and follow Him. I made that choice. There were people who didn’t understand my decision. Some thought I’d get over God and come back. Some thought it was “nice” and they were glad I was “happy now”. I’m not condemning them. I have no regrets. I’m just speaking the truth. I continue to live and work in the world, but what I found to be important in my life and a priority has changed. I am now addicted to God. God healed me of my addictions to the world.

So sometimes it is vitally important that each of us spend some time in prayer but not ask for anything. What do you mean? Pray without asking? Yes. Prayer is a conversation with God from your heart. You can pray without asking. There is something very powerful in prayer without asking. Prayers of love and adoration to Almighty God Himself. Let me ask you something. When you were growing up, did you like when your mom or your dad or a relative or even a teacher called you out and told someone how special you were? I know I did. We all would love to hear how we were loved and how much we meant to someone? That’s human nature and it is birthed in us. To give and to receive love. How much more important is it to pour out that kind of heartfelt love and adoration to the Lord. To tell Him how much He means to us and how much we love Him. To recall the blessings He has given us. To thank Him for the times we felt His presence. So below, I’ve put together a list of some of the things I thank God for and cause me to bless His Name:

  • Before Jesus died, he prayed for me in the garden (John Chapter 17. You really need to read this and let the Holy Spirit get this into your heart)
  • Jesus gave His life for me so that can spend eternity with Him. (When He was on the cross, we were on His mind)
  • God causes the sun to rise each morning for me and the day and His mercy is new. (It’s a promise – Lamentations 3:22-24)
  • God loves me with an everlasting love (Jeremiah 31:3)
  • God is slow to anger (Psalm 103:8)
  • My lovely bride, Nancy, who I cherish and celebrate each new day with her. (My great gift from God)
  • My Son, Daughter and Son-in Law who love Jesus and call Him Savior

And the list can go on and on and on. My point is there is such a thing as prayer without asking God for anything. I call it Adoration Prayer. I believe that this kind of prayer is received by God as a first fruit offering. Because, let’s face it. Without God we have nothing. But with God, all things are possible.

Precious Lord, thank You. You are a great and glorious Lord and I worship You. O how I love You, Lord. I sing praises to You and worship Your Holy Name. For all Your goodness, I will keep on singing. Now and forever more. Let everything that is within me, Praise the Lord. I will shout of Your goodness day and night. Bless the Lord, O my soul. In Your Name, Jesus. Amen and Amen.

Don’t believe me, believe God!

Matthew 5:43-45 NKJV – Really? Love my enemies?

You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.

There was a time when this passage of scripture was very hard for me to grasp. I would tell you that even today; I am challenged at times to understand how or why I should do this. Jesus wants us to know the He loves and cherishes everyone and He is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance”. (2 Peter 3:9) He went to the cross and died for all of us. To be Christian means to be Christlike. In everything. That means to love your enemies and bless those who talk bad about you, who hate you, who find ways to use you and oppress and torment you.

I remember when my life was a great big mess, filled with anger and the constant thought that life was not fair and I would let the world know about it. My love for people was shallow and my motives were very wrong. Jesus came into my life and changed that. It’s been a process and He’s not done with me yet. But when I look at people now, it’s with a different viewpoint. Jesus taught me to love unconditionally. He taught me to love like He does. To love you for who you are; His creation. And if by doing that, God moves in that person’s life or a change is made, then I say, “Glory to God”. It’s not about me; it’s all about what Jesus did in me.

Dear Jesus. Thank You for changing me and enabling me to love Your creation as You command me. Thank You that You are patient with me when I fail sometimes and my own issues and pride get in the way. You have always loved us from the beginning of time and You died for all of us so that a bridge could be built from us to You. Help us love as You love. Help us be Your lighthouse. In Jesus Name. AMEN

Don’t believe me, believe God!